JUPITER, Fla. -- Ricky Nolasco tuned up for the regular season on Friday night by pitching from the stretch in all but one inning.
The results were pretty good.Nolasco outpitched Jon Niese in a battle of opening-day starters, but the Miami Marlins lost 4-2 to the New York Mets."He's right on schedule," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I think anytime a pitcher in spring training can get in a couple of tight spots, kind of ramp it up like you would in the regular season and have to make your pitches, it's a good thing. He did a nice job of that tonight."Nolasco allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two. He also hit two batters while throwing 62 of his 101 pitches for strikes.Jordany Valdespin led off the game with a triple to the right-field corner. He scored on Andrew Brown's one-out single, but that was it for New York against Nolasco."It was good to get to that barrier of more than 90 pitches," Nolasco said. "It's not easy doing it for the first time. I had to battle myself a little more on my fastball than I wanted to. I was able to make the pitch with the fastball when I had to. "Nolasco is scheduled to make his final spring outing on Wednesday against Boston in Fort Myers. He then will open the season at Washington on April 1.Niese gave up two runs and four hits over five innings a day after he was told he would start on opening day. He struck out five and walked four."He had one rough inning with his command," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's had a strong spring. I think with the news yesterday, that probably had his adrenaline going."Niese is set to make his final spring start against Houston on Wednesday. He'll start the season against San Diego at Citi Field on April 1."I'm going to back off a little bit, probably 45 to 50 pitches and have some good rest before opening day," Niese said.The Mets scored three times off Ryan Webb in the eighth inning. Anthony Recker doubled in Mike Baxter with the tying run, and Josh Rodriguez's two-out, two-run single gave New York the lead.Rob Brantly and Nick Green had run-scoring singles in the fourth for Miami.
Marlins prospect Christian Yelich was among three players re-assigned to minor league camp before the game. RHP Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. ... Brantly had two hits for Miami, and closer Steve Cishek pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. ... Brown and Omar Quintanilla each had two hits for the Mets.